INTRODUCING CSR IN FINANCE SUBJECTS CURRICULA: UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS, A CASE STUDY
In the context of Bologna Process, a key issue of the Higher Education Area (HEA) is to prepare students for their future careers as well as maximizing their personal development and their contribution to a sustainable and democratic knowledge-based society. In this regard, it is important for students of finance to change their curricula according to the new market demands. The rising demand of professional trained in aspects related to social responsibility, sustainability of organisations and sustainable finance justifies the introduction of the concepts of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investing (SRI) in business and finance education.
CSR and SRI have become one of the most prominent topics for researchers, business community, financial markets and society in recent years. On the one hand, SRI has grown rapidly around the world, especially after the most recent global financial crisis. In fact, there are a growing number of investors seeking to stimulate the economic recovery in a more sustainable way. In this new scenario, SRI supports the emergence of a more sustainable economic system. On the other hand, future managers are more aware about the concept of CSR and the implementation of CSR is becoming very necessary for survival in the changing business world.
SRI is the financial investment process that takes into account environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) impacts and/or investment in the community – as well as shareholder activism (US SIF, 2009) . It is the best practice for investors to incorporate CSR in their investment decision (Renneboog et al., 2008) .
CSR may be understood as an instrument for implementing the concept of business sustainability (EC, 2002) . It could be operationally defined as ―an aggregate of all the policies of voluntary action and subsequent management processes arising from corporate actions aimed at achieving sustainable actions in the field of economy, environment, social development, or organizational management (Muñoz et al., 2009) .
Within this context, the main purpose of this work is to study the university students’ perceptions about CSR and SRI issues and the need of including CSR and SRI concepts in the curricula of finance students. We are interested in finding out whether the students of finance are familiar with the concepts and whether or not they are part of their lives, their degree programmes, and in their (future) professional and personal lives.
To examine university students’ perceptions and awareness of CSR and SRI issues, we conduct a field survey with a sample of finance students. Specifically, this study is addressed to the finance students of University Jaume I in Castellón (Spain) during the academic year 2013-2014. The answers are tabulated and statistically analyzed according to the econometric techniques used in the main literature.
The findings of this article bring knowledge about the understanding of CSR and SRI from the finance university students’ perception and their values’ structure in a high education context. Moreover, this paper offers some guidelines that could be used by Higher Education Institutions, in order to introduce CSR and SRI concepts in the business curricula.